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BJP, Congress in Race to Form Alliance in Meghalaya. Here are the Possible Scenarios

All eyes are now on the smaller parties and independents, who will hold the key to government formation in the state.

News18.com

Updated:March 3, 2018, 9:06 PM IST
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BJP, Congress in Race to Form Alliance in Meghalaya. Here are the Possible Scenarios
Both Congress and the BJP have rushed senior leaders to Meghalaya in an attempt to stitch alliances.
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Government formation can sometimes be a marathon process, but the Congress and the BJP are in a sprint to stitch alliances in Meghalaya, where a fractured mandate has kept all the parties in the hunt.

While the Congress has emerged as the single largest party with 21 seats, it still needs nine more to gain a majority and avoid the embarrassment of being one step closer to a Congress-mukt North East. For the BJP, it is the allure of conquering the final frontier that is making it push the Congress despite winning just two seats of its own.

The Congress has rushed two senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Kamal Nath to the state as it wants to avoid the mistakes it made in Manipur and Goa, where it was caught napping and allowed the BJP time to form the governments despite being the single largest party. Patel said there would be no repetition and the Congress would stake its claim soon.

Both the Congress and the BJP had no pre-poll arrangements, but the BJP has an advantage here as the National People's Party (NPP), which won 19 seats, is an ally of the saffron party at the Centre and in Manipur. Their combined tally rises to 21, nine short of the magic figure, like the Congress.

All eyes are now on the smaller parties and independents, who will hold the key to government formation in the state. Here are the possible post-poll scenarios in the state:

Scenario 1: Anti-Congress Coalition

The bulk of ‘others’ in the counting column is formed of an alliance of United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and Garo National Council (GNC) that has won eight seats. Then, there is also the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), which has won four seats. Another regional party, Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, has won one seat. Almost all these parties had fought the elections on an anti-Congress plank and there primary aim to dethrone the Mukul Sangma government also serves the BJP and NPP’s agenda.

Meghalaya in-charge of BJP, Nalin Kohli, has already gone on record saying that such an arrangement is possible in the state. If all the parties come together, the coalition would have 33 seats, well clear of the halfway mark. "In Meghalaya, the vote is clearly against the Congress because if you see it from the larger perspective, the anti-Congress vote goes to the NPP, the UDP, BJP, and all of us are part of NDA. Now it is up to the national leaders to decide, but there can be a possibility of a post-poll alliance," Kohli said.

Scenario 2: Congress + Regional Party + Independent

The Congress is not leaving anything to chance this time as is evident by its rushing of its old guard to the state. Senior leader Kamal Nath said the BJP is only trying to create mischief and has no stake with only two seats. But the fact that almost all regional parties contested the elections on an anti-Congress plank may make it difficult to stitch up a coalition and reach the halfway mark of 30. But party leaders are hopeful that it can sway at least one of the major regional parties and together with the Independents, who won three seats, it would have enough numbers to gain a majority.

Scenario 3: Congress + NPP

It may be unlikely but the largest and the second largest parties could also come together to form an alliance. The Congress is banking on the fact that the NPP, founded by former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma and now led by his son Conrad Sangma, is a partner of the BJP and yet, decided to contest the election separately.

His rationale was that “local sentiments and aspirations play a larger role in local elections”. The Congress hopes that an alliance here could also help it in Manipur, where it was edged by the BJP despite winning 28 of the 60 Assembly seats.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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